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Chapter One

The Problem and Its Setting


Writing in a foreign or second language is a hard task for students whose native language is not

of the same origin as the target language. In general, writing is the least favored skill to most of the

students because this skill requires a lot of thinking and not to mention the tedious process that can

lead to loss of interest. Due to this, many problems in writing may arise because the students are not

adequately familiar with the foreign language, specifically the English language.

The Grade 7 students of Ligao National High School in Ligao City has been observed to be

having this problem in writing as shown by the results of the survey tests given to them recently by

the researchers.

The researchers conduct this study to point out specifically the problems being encountered by

the Grade 7 students of Ligao National High School. This study is also necessary for the researchers

to find out the solutions to these problems through the help and recommendations of the interviewed

respected personnel.

Writing is a skill that should not be neglected. It needs a lot of attention from the teachers and

students because it is necessary not only in their daily academic life but it is also a productive skill

that must be taken seriously all through out their adult life.

Background of the Study

A Cognitive Process Theory of Writing published by Linda Flower and John Hayes in 1981

provides the groundwork for further research into how thought processes influence the writing

process. A cognitive theory is focused on gaining insight into the writing process through the

writer's thought processes. Composition theorists have attacked the problem of accessing the writer's

thought in various ways. This theory sought to outline the writer's choice-making through out the

writing process, and how those choices constrained or influenced other choices down the line.

This study reports the findings of a thorough investigation to point out the problems that the

Grade 7 Students of Ligao National High School face and how such problems can lead to their

performances in writing. Emphasis is placed on the factors affecting students' difficulty in writing,

the motivational techniques used by the teachers to encourage students' in writing and the suggested

programs of the Department of Education to solve students' difficulty in writing. Also, part of this

research is finding long term solutions to the said problem.

The researchers contend that writing being the least favored skill is not the central factor on

students' difficulty in writing, rather it is the role of the teachers and the students that must go side

by side to master writing skills. "Writing gives the opportunity to the students to be adventurous to

the language, to take the risk and to go further of what is learned to talk about" (Shouman 2002) .

The teachers of the English language should be aware of the students' difficulties involved in the

process of writing and students should know how to produce fairly coherent, meaningful and proper


Theoretical Framework

The Learning Perspective argues that children imitate what they see and hear, and that children

learn from punishment and reinforcement. (Shaffer,Wood, & Willoughby,2002). The main theorist

associated with this theory is B.F. Skinner.

Skinner argued that adults shape the speech of children by reinforcing the babbling of infants

that sound most like words. (Skinner,1957, as cited in Shaffer, et. al. 2002).

The Learning Perspective theory supports the main problem of the current study. Skinner’s

perspective will be used to strengthen the researchers’ argument about the need of reinforcement to

lessen the students’ difficulty in writing.

The English Composition teacher Karliner A. said in 1974 that writing competency is a skill

which needs continual reinforcement; it is impossible to expect that one student will become a good

writer if he has never written before and if it will not be required to write again.

Well – founded writing requires practice and feedback, which many language teachers pay little

attention – reason why most students are not motivated to write and create exemplary compositions.

Composition teacher Mile, J. (1975) also expressed his stand that teaching writing is a

responsibility of teachers. He says, “We know that good writing, like good thinking, cannot be

taught ‘once and for all’ it is not a simple skill like swimming; indeed even a swimmer can be

coached to get better and better”.

Teachers play a vital role in teaching writing. For some theorists and researchers, teachers are

the only ones who could help students improve their skills in writing and lessen or prevent students’

problems about writing.

Another theory that supports the study is the Interactionalist Theory. This theory explains that

language is both biological and social.


Interactionalists argue that “ children are born with a powerful brain that matures slowly and

predisposes them to acquire new understandings that they are motivated to share with others”

(Bates,1993;Tomasello,1995, as cited in Shaffer,et al.,2002,p.362)

The main theorist associated with this theory is Lev Vygotsky. Lygotsky believes that social

interaction creates a “motivating force”. It motivates the child to use and master the language for it

is a tool for communication.

Lev Vygotsky emphasized the importance of language as a social tool when he said, “The

primary function of speech, both for the adult and for the child, is the function of communication,

social contact, influencing surrounding individuals”.

John-Steiner says, “when creative young people form a community – however temporary it may be

– they become more aware of themselves, they profit from the criticism of their peers and they

learn new ways to claim their experience.”

Based on this, we can infer that teachers’ feedback helps a lot. As mentors, they need to provide

feedback and comments on students’ output. By doing so, they are giving students motivation to

work harder and make their work better. (As John-Steiner says, “The influence of a live mentor

frequently serves to validate a young persons’ own discoveries”)

Writing skill is an important productive skill and one of the hardest skills to acquire. There are a

lot of problems that are being encountered by students in developing this skill. Lack of knowledge in

English language, such as not being able to write a phrase, clause or a sentence, is one of those

problems. Lack of motivation is also a factor.

Both Skinner and Vygotsky explain the importance of teachers and the role of motivational

techniques in developing students’ skill in writing.

Teachers must be extra careful in choosing the right strategy. They must always consider the

role and importance of giving feedback. Aside from their own teaching strategy, they must also look

and search for other ways on how to motivate the students to write and lessen the problems that they

encounter in developing the skill in writing.


B.F. Skinner


Lev Vygotsky



Conceptual Framework

The research study was conceptualized based on INPUTS, PROCESSES and OUTPUTS.

The INPUTS of this study were the selected students and teachers of Ligao National High


The PROCESSES involved were descriptive and investigative methods. To gather the data, the

researchers utilized questionnaires and conducted interviews. Descriptive and investigative analysis

were used to know the different problems encountered by grade 7 students in writing and the

different techniques used by teachers in motivating students to write. The data had used statistical

tool, frequency count, frequency technique, weighted mean and mean.

The OUTPUTS of the study were the problems being encountered by Grade 7 students of

Ligao National High School in writing and the techniques used by teachers to overcome them.

Feedback was provided in order to inform the respondents of the result of the the study.





Statement of the Problem

General Problem:

 What are the problems being encountered by the Grade 7 students of Ligao National High

School of Ligao City in writing?

Specific Problems:

 What are the factors affecting the Grade 7 students of Ligao National High School’s

difficulty in writing?

 What are the motivational techniques used by the teachers of Ligao National High School to

encourage students in writing?

 What are the suggested programs of the Department of Education to solve the students'

difficulty in writing?


Operational Hypotheses:

1. English as a secondary language affects the Grade 7 students of Ligao National High School

difficulty in writing.

2. The appropriateness of motivational techniques used by the teachers greatly affects students'

difficulty in writing.

Null Hypotheses:

1. English as a secondary language does not affect the Grade 7 students of Ligao National High

School difficulty in writing.

2. The appropriateness of motivational techniques used by the teachers does not affect students'

difficulty in writing


Specific Questions:

(1) Why do students find it hard to write?

Assumption: There are several factors that can affect student's ability in writing.

(2) Why is writing the least favored skill by the students?

Assumption: There are certain factors that affect student's perception in writing.

(3) How do the teachers handle the problems encountered in writing?

Assumption: The teachers may use several techniques and activities to encourage students to write.

Significance of the Study

As perceived by the researchers and also with the results gathered, it is relevant and necessary to

point out specifically the factors that contribute to their difficulty in writing. In a span of two weeks,

the researchers have gathered qualitative and quantitative data that proves the problems faced by the

Grade 7 students in writing. The study will be of great of importance to the ff:

Students. The implementation of this study will benefit the Grade 7 students because if this

study succeeded in determining the problems they are facing in writing then this study may provide

them with solutions that they can use to solve these problems.

Teachers. This study will help the teachers to conceptualize techniques that can help them on

solving the problems students faced in writing.

Curriculum Designers. Academicians who focus on innovating designs of the English

curriculum would need to find approaches to teaching English as a second language. This study may

help professionals to formulate programs that can help utilize students' difficulty in writing.

Other researchers. This study can open new doors for other researchers to investigate the

possible solutions and actions to be taken in the improvement of students writing performance in


This study aims to find not only immediate solutions but also recommendations from respected

personnel to address the problems in writing.


Scope and Delimitation

This study is conducted to determine the problems being encountered by the Grade 7 students of

Ligao National High School in writing as perceived by the researchers through the survey results

last January 18, 2017. The aspects looked into were the problems being encountered by the Grade 7

students in writing, the factors that affect their difficulty in writing, the techniques used by the

teachers to encourage them in writing and the suggested programs of the Department of Education

to solve the student's difficulty in writing.

General Purpose: To determine the problems being encountered by the Grade 7 students of Ligao

National High School.

Subject Matter: Writing skills in Grade 7

Aspects Studied: Problems encountered in writing, Factors affecting their difficulty in writing,

techniques used by teachers to encourage students in writing and suggested programs by the

Department of Education to solve the problems in writing.

Population: Students and Teachers

Locale of the Study: Grade 7 students of Ligao National High School

Period of the Study: January 11, 2018 - February 2, 2018


Definition of Terms


-the act or process of one who writes such as:

A. the act or art of forming visible letters

B. the act or practice of literary or musical composition (Merriam-Webster dictionary)

-a set of visible or tactile signs used to represent units of language in a systematic way, with the

purpose of recording messages which can be retrieved by everyone who knows the language in

question and the rules by virtue of which its units are encoded in the writing system (Coulmas,

Florian, The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Writing Systems)

ESL (an abbreviation of English as Second Language)

-the teaching of English to people who speak in a different language and who live in a country

where English is not the main language spoken (


-internal and external factors that stimulates desire and energy to be continually interested and

committed to a job, role, or subject


-the manner of and ability which an artist, dancer, athlete, or the like employs the technical skills of

a particular art or field of endeavor (

Curriculum Design

-term used to describe the purposeful, deliberate, and systematic organization of curriculum

(instructional blocks) within a class or course

-a way for teachers to plan instruction (Karen Schweitzer)


Chapter Two

Review of Related Literature and Studies

Related Literature


Expert writers had more pre-writing activities, more generated ideas, more organizational

decisions, more retrieved ideas, and more evaluations before writing down their notes than did the

novice writers. (Castro, 2005)

This finding validates Sasaki and Hirose’ (1996) claim that L2 writing performance is

characterized by one’s previous writing experience and confidence in L2 writing. However, it must

be noted that not all the respondents acknowledged that writing background had an effect on the

success of their present writing performance-a result which was gleaned from the interview with

the respondents. Some claim that even if they had poor writing background, they still obtained a

high score in their diagnostic essay. This finding is understandable since writing success is an

amalgamation of complex factors and cannot be attributed to writing background alone. (Leah E.

Gustillo, 2005)


Writing instruction needs to be anchored on a larger context, approaching writing as a complex

cognitive activity involving cognitive resources and utilizing processes relevant to achieving

communicative goals. Second, writing assessment needs to develop frameworks or models informed

by a thorough review of cognitive and instructional literature. Such frameworks would take into

consideration the assessment of full complex abilities that are activated in writing. (Deane et al.,


Related Studies


The top five most frequently occurring errors that are distributed in three different levels of

writing proficiency are COMMA (unnecessary or missing comma, missing comma after an

introductory clause or phrase, missing comma before a nonrestrictive clause) 16.6 %, WORD

CHOICE (wrong word form/word choice) 13.5%, VERBS (S-V Agreement, verb tense, verb form),


run-on sentences) 9.4 %. All three levels have errors on these aforementioned categories. However,

out of the 28 error types identified in the essays, only 24 types appeared in Level 3 essays. Level 3

essays have no errors in pronoun-antecedent agreement, wrong punctuation (e.g. question mark

instead of a period), missing hyphen, and unnecessary word. (Carlo Magno and Leah Gustillo, 2012)

In almost all writing contexts, good writing is appreciated and bad writing is despised. Good

writing is rewarded by the success they get in acing written examinations, while bad writers seem to

be penalized by their getting low evaluations and failing marks. The present study focused in

characterizing good/more proficient ESL student writers vis-a-vis less proficient/bad ESL student

writers who wrote an argumentative essay in their English class by identifying variables in which

they significantly differ. The present investigation is motivated by the importance of understanding

what skilled or proficient writing is in the Philippine setting. (Leah E. Gustillo, 2016)


English Composition students usually write about personal opinions, which shows that

sometimes they do not get informed of real situations and almost always they write based on what

they think in relation to the topic provided. A lower number of students make emphasis on the

importance of reading before writing. Such situation clarifies the fact that reading is not taken into

account as this must be done as the most important base for writing, helping to have an overview of

different topics when composing. In this point, if students do not enhance the habit of reading or do

not take into account this fact before the writing process, students will not be able to create adequate

composition. (Aragón Jiménez, Claudia Esmeralda; Baires Mira, Dalia Cecilia; Rodriduez, Gloria

Stephany, 2013)


Related Literature

The aforementioned literary works about writing show different perspectives on how good and

bad writing are viewed. The authors stated certain factors that may affect students’ writing

performance and how different variables make different impacts on each student’s writing ability. In

relation to the topic of this research, the information given by the literary works helped the

researchers broaden their understanding of the topic. The researchers can use the information

provided by the literary works to determine certain phenomena in writing and establish a general

connection between writing problems and the factors affecting the students’ writing performance.

Related Studies

The aforementioned studies conducted by other researchers about certain problems in students’

writing cited existing problems that students encounter during their writing process. The results of

the studies showed underlying factors that affect students’ writing and diagnosed possible causes of

the problems. The researchers of this topic also aim to diagnose and determine problems in writing

encountered by Grade 7 students. Using the result of the study, the researchers aim to be able to

come up with possible ways of addressing the problems.


Chapter Three

Research Methodology

This chapter deals on the methodology applied in the study. Specifically, the method used,

respondents, gathering data and statistical treatment of the data were likewise used so as to give a

clearer direction on how this research was done.

Research Method to be Used

The descriptive and the investigative methods were used in the study. A survey questionnaire in

gathering data. However, observations, interpretations, and informal interviews were considered

imperatives that made possible the data collection.

Selection of Respondents

The respondents were the man source of information of this research. The respondents were

selected Grade 7 students coming from Ligao National High School. The study utilized 60

respondents who served as the sources of the data gathered. Its distribution was presented in Table




Grade 7 Sections No. Of Respondents Percentage

RD1 20 33.33%

MLQ1 20 33.33%

FA1 20 33.33%

Total 60 100%

Instrumentation, Materials, and Equipment

This study made use of observations, informal interviews, and survey questionnaires in a form

of checklist for the students to identify the specific problems in writing that they encountered or


Data Collection/Procedure

Preparation of the Questionnaires. The researchers prepared a questionnaire which

constitutes to answer the statement of the problem of this study. It was first finalized and checked

before it was used officially by the respondents.

Administration of the Questionnaires. The researchers distributed it officially to the selected

respondents of the said study in accordance with the approval from the School Principal of Ligao

National High School. It was followed by the retrieval of the accomplished forms to collate all the

responses of the selected respondents and clear interpretations that would result in the major

findings of the study.

Interview. To gather additional information related to the study and to get suggestions, the

researchers conducted interviews from the selected Grade 7 English Teachers of Ligao National

High School.

Data Plan/Statistical Treatment of Data

In the treatment of the data gathered, the following statistical tools were employed for better

interpretation and analysis of the data.

A. Percentage Technique : in order to quantify all the tabulated responses. Formula is shown below:

P = n X 100

n = is the number of respondents

N = is the total number of respondents

P = is the percentage equivalent

B. Rank Method : This is an orderly arrangement of data from the highest ton lowest or vice - versa.